At BFF we were delighted to speak with Stephen Hecht, a leader in family businesses, and co-founder of Million Peacemakers, about his views on open communication and enterprising families. Here’s a summary of the video:
Tell us about open communication and families?
Open communication is key to preventing conflict and then to dealing with it once you have it. People want to feel respected and part of the process. Family meetings on a regular basis can be part of that.
At what age could children start attending family meetings?
You can invite them when they are kids, seven, eight, nine years of age, to include them. So they feel part of the process and they learn how to deal with conflict. And by the way, on its own, conflict is neither positive or negative. It’s how we deal with it that makes it constructive or destructive.
But, generally speaking, shouldn’t we keep kids away from conflicts?
Having family meetings, helping kids and ourselves to go through any conflicts and problems we may be having, is actually a great process to do.
What about using retreats as part of the process?
One of the main complaints I hear is “I don’t have that relationship with my dad, or my son or my daughter, that I used to. The business has got in the way”. We really need to take time to have the love as family members. With retreats, families get away from the office, and away from people’s territory, and remember what it’s like to be a family again.
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